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Running for the Gold
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Tom Neilson
Tom Neilson

Sun Jun 19, 2011
Country : Americana
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Charts position
» highest in charts:   # 11   (68,284 songs currently listed in Country)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 1   (1,549 songs currently listed in Country > Americana)
» today's position: # 987 in Country
» today's position in sub-genre: # 43 in Americana
About the song
Tom was invited by the Southern Anti-Racism Network to perform at an anti-racism gathering in Durham as a response to a white supremacist organization organizing in NC. He wrote Running For The Gold for that event.
Lyrics
He was a sharecropper’s son. He was the midnight express.
When he was young his mother took a kitchen knife & cut a tumor from his chest
He Went to Columbus for the Buckeyes to run & study at their school
Then punched his tix in 36 to run where Nazis rule

Slavery Avery told the world Jesse shouldn’t go
Better he should stay at home in service to Jim Crow
But Jesse knew not to do everything he was told
He tied the laces on his shoes and went running for the gold.

Hitler said he’d never shake a Black man’s hand
& FDR didn’t call or even send a telegram
Well he could run with whites in Germany, But not in Alabam
Could ride up front on a Berlin train, but not in Texarkan
Could eat with whites in Picadilly, but not in Caroline,
Go to a show with whites in Paris, but not below the line.

Brown shirts, black guards, & grey green waves 7 military miles long
Jesse said he ran with the strength of his feet & the courage in his lungs
In the Summer of 36 he was the fastest we ever saw
By December he was a sideshow racing Julio Macaw.

Now Mac Robinson won silver, but when he came back home
All they gave him was a broom that he could call his own.
But he paved the way for Jackie, for Hank and Willie, too
& all of us keep pavin that road for me & you.

Slavery Avery told the world Jesse shouldn’t go
Better he should stay at home in service to Jim Crow
But Jesse knew not to do everything he was told
He tied the laces on his shoes and went running for the gold.